Willo Gonnissen

The work of Willo Gonnissen (1959) expresses a predilection for small, unsightly and modest detail. Indeed, his drawings and installations reveal that there is a whole world hidden behind a dot, a spot or a matchstick. At least, if one approaches it from the imagination and desire rather than a rigid logic.

Each of these minute details reveals itself as a microcosm, a scale model of the large world. Here nothing is what it seems, at least not for very long. A comma turns out to be a drop of water, a snail's shell, a rolled up tongue. A teaspoon of sugar suddenly appears to look suspiciously like a mountain. A ball of paper becomes a cloud. In this game of metamorphoses, associations and shifts in meaning, reoccurring motifs such as a paper boat, a raft or a flying carpet often appear. They refer to the free flight of the imagination and travel as a symbol of endless longing. Longing - that of the artist and the viewer - charges these signs and objects with meaning; as in the spots in the Rorschach test, you always see what you wish to see. However, not everything in the garden is lovely in this fairytale world. The princess has steel saw-teeth and if you stir your coffee there is a good chance you will be drawn into a vortex.

For the Freespace Limburg exhibition Willo Gonnissen used the famous black square by the Russian painter Kasimir Malevich as a starting point for a complex installation which included a video projection. In one of the beguinage houses at Z33, Gonnissen projected not the black area itself but just the white edge surrounding it onto a white canvas attached to the wall with hundreds of drawing pins. Moreover, the 'virtual' black square that appeared on the canvas was not really black. As a consequence of the moving projection and the drawing pins it looked more like a heavenly body, a floating object in an immense star-spangled sky.

Gonnissen's fascination with the famous painting by Malevich is related to his admiration for Henri Matisse's painting Window in Collioure. This picture shows not a black square but a rectangle, an open window which is also an opening to the work of Massimo Bartolini, an artist who had exhibited previously in Freespace Limburg. In Bartolini's work Cézanne's Leaves, a tree falls inside through a window. In this way Gonnissen's installation became a meeting place where Malevich, Matisse, Bartolini, Cézanne, a black square, a window and a flying carpet encounter one another.

- Peter Pollers


13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
13.02 to 01.05.2005
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